Excitement is high as students anxiously await the first Center of the Universe Party (COUP) of the school year. With a team of thesis students behind the scenes of “Something Wicked This Way Comes” COUP, students can expect nothing short of fun with new designated party areas and witchy themes.
The campus-wide party normally falls on or near Halloween, but the upcoming COUP was pushed back a week to Nov. 7. The change received backlash from some students. Many assumed that the rescheduling came about because of a scheduling conflict with thesis student McCalister Grant’s thesis performance. Grant’s play took place in the Black Box Theater (BBT) from Oct. 29-31, which would have rendered the BBT unusable for the party. According to thesis student and COUP co-sponsor Garret Murto, the scheduling conflict was not the reason behind COUP’s rescheduling.
“That was a nice addition to changing the date but that wasn’t the original purpose,” Murto said. “The original purpose was that there was a group who wanted to hold a Samhain service on Halloween night. Housing wasn’t going to allow any events the entire day of COUP. So we changed the date for that, so it didn’t infringe on a religious holiday.”
Two of the sponsors, Logan Starnes and Bianca Benedi, have been pushing for the witchy theme since they first arrived at New College. Until their thesis year, “Something Wicked” was merely an idea that was never able to come to fruition.
“The inspiration was definitely Harry Potter,” Murto said.
Wickedness will come to life in the designated areas of the party. The BBT will be decorated as Charlotte’s Labyrinth; Palm Court as a tri-wizard tournament maze; the Old Mail Room as a swamp witch theme; the basketball court as the Department of Mysteries. Traditionally, the Nook has been used as a designated party space during COUP. This year, however, the sponsors wanted to try something different and experiment with the basketball court as a party space.
“It was really important to some of the sponsors to try to experiment with not having music play as close to the dorms as it usually is because it does go really late into the night,” Murto said. “It’s typically kind of like an unwritten rule that you don’t necessarily noise complaint COUP, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it still annoys a lot of people. So we’re kind of experimenting with different spaces.”
The sponsors have been working diligently in budgeting their allotted amount of $2,000 in preparation for the party.
“We’re putting roughly $350 toward bands, $500 towards food,” Murto said. “Our original budget we allocated for ourselves was around $1,800, so for the rest of it we only have budgeted about $800 or $900 for the crafts and stuff like that, but we have some extra money to work with.”
Murto said that the DJ’s and bands would all bring something different to the table, creating an eclectic spread of genres throughout the night. “There are several people who are like ‘yeah it’s going to be like trap,’ and there are several people who will be playing electro-swing. It’s a pretty good variety,” Murto said. “There is one act that is described as erotic entomology.”
However, most of the musical variety will be heard in the Old Mailroom when several bands ranging from punk sets, acoustic sets and psychedelic sets take the stage on the night of COUP.
“I did get Sonic Graffiti which is more punk,” Murto said. “I got this band out of South Florida called My Sweet Symphony which is a bit harsher of a sound, and I also have a band that’s called Veiny Hands which is more ethereal, psychedelic kind of feel. And then Bradley Baker as Obvious Objects is going to have a 30-minute set.”
For those who are not interested in partaking in the antics of COUP, there will be activities in Hamilton “Ham” Center as well as in the “wall-ternatives” room.